THE COCTEAU TWINS - MILK AND KISSES

THE COCTEAU TWINS - MILK AND KISSES

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Released: 19/01/24

Originally released in 1996, Milk & Kisses was the final album by The Cocteau Twins, who disbanded the following year due to singer Elizabeth Fraser and guitarist Robin Guthrie’s split, which occurred before work on the record began. This incredible LP, now reissued on lovely 140g vinyl, often gets overlooked when the Scottish trio’s oeuvre is discussed; yes, there are no deliriously ecstatic tracks akin to those found on the group’s most successful record, Heaven Or Las Vegas (if you Google ‘What does it feel like to fall madly in love’, you’ll simply be given a link to the single ‘Iceblink Luck’), but Milk & Kisses is not concerned with three-minute doses of untrammelled joy – rather its currency is what happens when, as Prefab Sprout put it, love breaks down.

It is, in no uncertain terms, a break-up album, and as such the Cocteaus’ goose-pimple-inducing trademark sound of Fraser’s transcendent soprano and Guthrie’s chorus-laden, crystalline guitar is shot through with the many subtle shades of emotions that come with the end of a relationship: grief, relief, and all the rest. But while there is an almost palpable sadness to some of the tracks, Fraser and Guthrie (along with bassist Simon Raymonde) never let it overwhelm the music; as such the LP features, as with ‘Serpentskirt’ and ‘Tishbite’, some of the most astonishingly beautiful songs the trio ever created. In Milk & Kisses’ minor falls and major lifts, and on Fraser’s every breath, a broken hallelujah.